Is a large cancellation penalty common in CR?

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Jul 22nd, 2005, 11:30 AM
  #1
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Is a large cancellation penalty common in CR?

I was about to book at the Tullemar Bungalows in MA, then looked at their cancellation policy. For cancellations more than 30 days out, they charge a penalty of 25% of the rate plus tax for the entire stay booked. (Of course, the penalty goes up from there for cancellations closer to the date.) That seems incredibly steep. Is this common in CR?
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 12:41 PM
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missypie, yes, I did notice lots of severe cancellation policies for costa rica. However, if you really search, you can find some that are better than others.

The Hotel Bougainvillea, Heredia (20 minutes from the San Jose airport) has one of the best cancellation policies, no penalty if you cancel within 48 hours by fax. (Of course you should always cancel as soon as possible as a courtesy, if it becomes necessary.)

good luck!
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 12:54 PM
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I know that it can be a hardship on a hotel if there is a last minute cancellation. But if I book now (almost 8 months in advance) and next month the Texas legislature does something wild with the school calendar that cancels spring break, I would have to cancel. How is there any hardship if you cancel 6 or 7 months in advance?
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 12:59 PM
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Let's look it another way - not just as a consumer/traveler. Let's say YOU are the owner of an inn - especially a small &/or unique one.

Let's say the client books a room a few months in advance & you professionally hold a space for them. You have to carefully manuever other guests & probably turned people away.

Now, let's say that client decides to no-show (NOT NOT NOT unusual in CR where people often stay in a place for 1-3 days & then travel around - sometimes changing their plans because they liked where they were, etc.) or cancels closer to their arrival date.

You've (the owner) turned down other guests for that space & since you're not some big hotel - YOU (the owner of the property) get TOTALLY screwed because you can't fill in those dates.

Hummmm - amazing how life can be seen differently when we take that step back & see it from ANOTHER's point of view!!

Prior to having my own biz I didn't think beyond how life effected just me also!! Now that I work for myself - I'm TOTALLY CONSCIOUS even to the point that I don't take an extra ketchup to go with my fries at Burger King unless I'm going to use it for THAT meal (ahhhh the days of hording ketchups, etc.).

Be happy you're not one of my clients for my Puerto Vallarta accommodations biz as I have a 101% NON-REFUNDABLE/NON-CANCELLABLE policy (it IS transferable though)!! I ONLY want people that are SERIOUS & ready to book. True "stuff happens" in life hence why I offer my clients for THEM to be responsible for THEIR decisions/actions by offering them Trip Cancellation/Interuption Insurance!! That way if they have a LEGIT reason for cancelling (not just because they decided to stay an extra night in anothe r place or it was raining) - THEY can deal directly with the insurance company & I'm protected also!! It's a Win-Win situation!!!
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 01:10 PM
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Vallartavicki,

That is a very selfish view of business owner. If we follow all the points of business, there would not be any return/exchange of goods, no grace period for rental car, and no changes in credit card charges,,,if you make one in blue moon for sending late and stuff

Fact of a matter is..running a business do carry risk of losing money. Trying to cover to have Win-win situation is not only unfair for customer, yet it is also immoral. If you do pass on risk/loss of business income to customer in reasonable rate, it is understandable. yet, 101% non refundable? I am suprised you have a business with that policy.

As with everything, you do have your right to set your own rule as business owner and I do respect that..but DO not tell missypie to be happy with not getting 101% non-refundable deposit..that is rude

Did not mean to offend you personally, and if I did, I appologize. but as you said, step back and think for the view of customer, who saved up money for long period of time and finally book, only to realize they can't make it and trying to change reservation/cancel.

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Jul 22nd, 2005, 02:54 PM
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It is common all over the world for smaller businesses and hotels to not give refunds or only a percentage after a certain period of time. Time frames vary, but it is completely understandable to me.

If you have a problem with a cancellation policy of a hotel then simply stay somewhere else. It is the right of any business owner to create policies that suit them. It is then up to the customer to buy or not.

If I owned a small hotel with let's say 4 rooms and I thought they were all booked up and for months I had turned away others wanting the rooms and then one, two, or all cancel, my business and livelihood would be lost. At larger hotels with 100, 500 or more rooms it's not such a big deal as the percentages are different and they can still function. Which is why their policies are looser.

I can't imagine owning a small seasonal business where I had 6 months to make my income for the year and I lost alot of that to no shows and cancellations.

I think this happens alot in Costa Rica and probably most tourist destinations.

Can you imagine if the hotel owner does the reverse and a month before you leave they say they've changed their mind about having you as a guest? Even if they said they were refunding ALL of your money. How would you feel? And you didn't lose any money.

People seem to forget that business owners are people...they're not all HUGE faceless corporations. They depend on their hotels to feed their families. If they need a bit of security that when someone books a room they will honor that contract, I don't understand why that is "selfish". These cancellation policies are in place so that the risks do not outweigh the rewards of doing business.

Again, if you don't like their policy, stay somewhere else. It's as simple as that. That's the beauty of the freedom of choice.
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 03:08 PM
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I would suggest that the policy there is so strict because people in Costa Rica jump around a lot and change their minds fairly quickly. Hotels in NYC, say, have lenient cancelation policies because you usually stay in only one hotel and pre-plan. Also, large corporations can take a hit here and there. You might get a better cancelation policy if you do one of the all inclusives
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 03:11 PM
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yes, i agree with you siempretrvls. that is why i said charging reasonable rate to customer for cancellation is appropriate. But, charging a cancelled reservation 6 month ahead of arrival day for 101%? is that right?

I also agree with you on staying someplace else, if policy is not palpable.. That is why I have to check and read all the fine prints before making reservation.

Again, I have no problem with charging appropriate fee for cancellation, considering it is causing loss in business but it needs to be in reasonable range.

think about missypie's case..making reservation 8 month in advance..and possibly cancelling in 6 month in advance for some unknown reasons...how much do you think you will charge her?? to be fair???



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Jul 22nd, 2005, 05:19 PM
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Wow, VallartaVicki, I certainly AM glad that I'm not one of your customers! I tend to think that if you cancel 4-6 months out you should get a full refund, less, perhaps, a small fee. I simply don't think it's a hardship on a hotel, no matter what the size, to have a cancellation 6 months in advance.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 09:23 AM
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I'm leaving for CR for 10 days. I noticed a few tours that I reserved has a policy of cashing in before the service is even rendered, for example, PureTrek's Canyoning tour in Arenal.

In the US, that is totally unacceptable. And those tour companies are not small businesses.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 12:02 PM
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VallartaVicki, I AM glad I'm not one of your customers too! 101% Non-refundable cancellation policy is bad business and it is also inhuman. It is also mathematically impossible unless you are planning to charge your customers more than the original room rates...

Even SERIOUS customers who are totally 100% committed to booking can have unexpected things happen in life when they are booking 8 months in advance! For example, I had booked our summer vacation in USA 8 months in advance, and then my son won a major science award that required his attendance at an event. Fortunately the vacation lodge allowed us to change the dates with no penalty.

ALSO, a death in the immediate family is certainly an understandable reason to have to cancel a trip!!! 101% non-refundable means even if your Dad dies unexpectedly too bad for you. I also agree with Missypie that cancelling 6 months in advance should gain you a 100% refund, with no fees.

Missypie, for my next trip I am thinking of booking insurance through www.insuremytrip.com It has been recommended and has a choice of policies and companies. You can insure a $5,000 trip for under $200 for example. HOWEVER, I WOULD STILL NEVER BOOK WITH ANYPLACE THAT HAD A 101% CANCELLATION POLICY, EVEN WITH MY INSURANCE! That's because such a policy would indicate lack of concern for its clients, and who wants to stay someplace where your needs aren't important?!

On the other hand, Missypie, I have also noticed that some hotels with very good customer feedback, indicating good customer service, will sometimes be flexible on their stated cancellation policies, depending on the individual circumstances. But this isn't something you can count on in advance.

For example I can recommend the Monteverde Lodge in Monteverde because we had reservations there for 3 nights. The airline then cancelled 1 of our flights and the best alternative choices were full, forcing us to juggle our vacation around a bit. I had 3 nights at Monteverde Lodge originally but had to change dates. But they were pretty full and were only able to come up with 2 nights for me for the new dates. But I really wanted 3 nights. I then found 3 nights available at another hotel, and told Monteverde Lodge the truth, thanking them for trying so hard to change the dates. Technically they might have been able to charge me 10%, but they didn't charge me any penalty. (This was a few months in advance.)

So the next time I go to Costa Rica, I'm booking with Monteverde Lodge!!!

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Jul 23rd, 2005, 12:53 PM
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I agree Melissa5, canceling that far in advance deserves a full refund. Last minute cancelations are a different story though and understandable. For a death in the family, travel insurance would truly be best (this has actually happened to me once!) since the person in question died on the day I was supposed to leave. This hotel sounds completely unreasonable though. 101%?
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 09:07 PM
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*

Maybe I'm not getting it? I logged into the website for Tulemar Bungalows in Manuel Antonio ... http://www.tulemar.com/ and looked under reservations to read the cancellation policy . . . and, here is what it says
"30 days from the arrival date
-- 25% of the total amount of the reservation plus taxes, 16.39%
22 days from the arrival date
-- 50% of the total amount of the reservation plus taxes, 16.39%
15 days from the arrival date
-- 75% of the total amount of the reservation plus taxes, 16.39%
07 days from the arrival date
-- 100% of the total amount of the reservation plus taxes, 16.39%"

Okay, my interpretation of above is that a cancellation penalty is charged for thirty days or LESS . . . missypie, did you email Tulemar asking about their cancellation fees? Like I said, maybe I'm the one who's misunderstanding the verbiage.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 09:38 PM
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Yes, that was obviously written by a spanish speaker new to english or relatively new- that sounds like 30 or less (29, 28, 27, 26) and sounds completely reasonable or not unusual. Am I missing something here?
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Jul 24th, 2005, 03:42 PM
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good catch Tess, I read it too that way.
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Jul 25th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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In case anyone is just joining the discussion, the 101% no-refund cancellation policy was for VallartaVicki's Puerto Vallarta accomodations...it was NOT for Tulemar bungalows. Just didn't want anyone to get confused if they didn't read the beginning...
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Jul 25th, 2005, 10:51 AM
  #17
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Well, I've emailed Tullemar Bungalows and asked if there is a cancellation penalty for cancellations MORE than 30 days out. No reply yet.
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Jul 25th, 2005, 03:23 PM
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I felt that I must jump in here because of my experience in cancelling with Tulemar Bungalows in June. My family booked a bungalow for five days at Tulemar. Unfortunately, we had problems with our passports and we were two days late arriving in CR. Neta helped us to rearrange our reservations.
We explained our situation to the manager at Tulemar and we were able to cancel one of our nights with no penalties. We loved Tulemar and wished that we had stayed there the extra night. We had to drag our two teens away and are hoping to return nest summer.
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May 12th, 2006, 07:51 PM
  #19
 
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In my business, I book w/ lots of hotels in CR and most have a cancellation policy from 30 days out. If they say 30 days out, it's 30 days or less -- you'll be fine if you cancel 6 months in advance. The best thing to do is to buy trip insurance -- not only does it cover you for last-minute cancellations, but it serves as medical insurance (many US policies don't cover you overseas).

Sandy
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May 13th, 2006, 12:40 AM
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All the talk here surely proves we must all "Vote with our feet".
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